Road Trip – DAY 5

Minneapolis to Chicago 656 km / 6.1 hrs July 23 – 2016 Weather: weather alert rAIn! Music: Sirius XM Fox News ch#118 McDonalds is everywhere on the Interstate. One discovers many exits feature the same menu of gas stations and restaurants, and occasionally, places of entertainment … Sorry, we have no bananas nor ragtime today. Apparently the McDonalds at 35 Hendersonville Rd, Asheville, NC 28803 features a real, black, baby grand piano. If you are courageous enough, it can be played. (Sadly, I have not been there.) However, this one at 851 WI-54, Black River Falls, WI features a fake, wooden, black, piano that cannot be played. Complete with...

Road Trip – DAY 4

Winnipeg to Minneapolis 735 km / 7.2 hrs July 19 – 2016 Weather: sunny, cloudy Music: Sirius XM Fox News ch#118 There is a remarkable transition journeying into the USA. The roads improve all of a sudden, as if they have a personality to make pleasant conversation with no surprises. One also sees strange modes of transportation hitherto unseen … Farmer Brown takes his Tractor to Town. City of Pembina, Idaho. I would say a highlight of the day was explain what a “protomartyr” meant to the nice U.S. Customs and Border Protection Person, just before I saw Farmer Brown. My wallet was opened and while getting my NEXUS...

Road Trip – DAY 3

Regina to Winnipeg 572 km / 5.8 hrs July 16 – 2016 Weather: miserable, torrential rain Music: Sirius XM Stars ch#109 Dear Reader, if you wish to have your dental fillings loosened and your entire body jostled, try the #1 Trans-Canada Hwy between Regina and Winnipeg. (This may be a good thing. Apparently the Russians developed vibration chair technology <http://www.healthline.com/health/vibration-therapy#2> but I digress.) I have never travelled on such a really bad road. Only a few stretches of hwy were paved without potholies. Crews were onsite in certain places to repair and replace, but for certain there is a long way to go to make...

Road Trip – DAY 1

Edmonton to Lethbridge 500 km / 4.8 hrs July 14 – 2016 Weather: mild, cool, raining Music: Sirius XM enLIGHTn ch#65 Left Mom’s in the early morning after receiving a blessing. (You do know that according to the Book of Tobit in the Old Testament, parents’ blessings upon their children are particularly powerful!) Counted over fourteen RV dealerships along hwy#2 enroute to destination. Southern Gospel music streaming on the radio. McGoldenARches coffee in my mug. The stage is really set to count my blessings and to be thankful for all the rescues in my life. Like, car accidents that almost happened...

At Mom’s RELAXIN’

The best place to relax is always at yer Mom’s. Been here at Mom’s in Edmonton for nearly a week. Two Days’ time will be the official start of the Road Trip. But first, some relaxin’ moments …. Me and George, at my brother’s chiropractic office. It seems he has been waiting a very long time for his appointment. (Nonetheless, if you wish to come by for a chat with George, or better yet, receive a chiro treatment or therapeutic massage, stop by Balwin Chiropractic Clinic 13123-82 Street, Edmonton AB 1-780-475-8484).   Me and Piano Man at the Edmonton Street Festival, Sir Winston Churchill...

Bella: Packing

Bella is the name I gave to my Italian FIAT 500 Abarth. Alberta Registries thinks it is a BMW, as per the license plate given over the counter.   Bella is also the name of a Roller Derby Team in Calgary, found at <http://calgaryrollerderby.com> (But I digress.) So what do you take with you when preparing for a nine thousand kilometre Road Trip from Calgary to New York to San Francisco? Some ten items of note, but not a full list: 1. Torque wrench I bought mine in Las Vegas as a “souvenier.” Lug nuts on wheels need occasional tightening. This prevents...

3rd Sabbatical Announcement

I’m writing this reflection piece on a Saturday night, as one of the many loose ends to tie up before leaving on my appointed sabbatical. (Actually, I gotta lot of loose ends — more than I anticipated. So many papers! And boxes of KraftD and Girl Guide cookies! But I digress.) When I looked at the calendar some time ago, I realized July 1st (official start date of sabbatical) is so close to Sunday, July 3rd, that it seemed best to look forward to celebrating services, preaching, and seeing everyone one last time, as opposed to quietly “sneaking out the...

“Monk” Gideon

Here’s a reply from Brother Gideon, Mt Tabor Monastery: Fr. Mark, After trying to wrap my mind around the sheer diversity and incredible fun-ness of your coast-to-coast itinerary, I’m not sure where to begin with my deep and bitter envy…but maybe your avoidance of Br. Seraphim’s soup is as good a place as any to start.  How exactly do you plan to pull that one off? I will share all this excitement with the brethren at dinner this evening!  Looking forward to seeing you sooner than later. PS.  If you plan on growing a long beard, you might want to get...

2nd Sabbatical Announcement!

So here are the latest and greatest developments that have evolved over the six weeks. (I might add that speculation has abounded to the point of one person actually asking me if I plan to leave the priesthood and get married!! Not the case, I assure you. But I digress). July 3rd Sunday will be my last at the parish. The next two weeks I’ll be in Edmonton with Mom, then leave on an extended Road Trip! By July 26th I’ll have passed through Winnipeg, Minneapolis, Chicago, landing in Detroit to take in the Fiat of America annual car show....

1st Sabbatical Announcement!

Christ is Risen!!! St John of the Cross, a medieval saint and Doctor of the Church, once said: “There is no spiritual state so high that often it is necessary to go back to the beginning.” In my soon-to-be thirty one years of priesthood, I have often reflected on what the beginning of my vocation was like, and in particular, two religious communities that were so prominent in preparing me for the road ahead. They were Madonna House Apostolate in Combermere Ontario, and Mt Tabor Monastery in California. Each community I visited in the mid 80’s. Madonna House helped me with...